Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My story....

Today is the 50th anniversary of our escape from Hungary. November 29th 1956 the three of us got dressed packed a small suitcase, walked out the door of our apartment and left. How my parents must have felt. I was young 14 and fearless and I really did not comprehend all that this really meant. Now that I'm older my memory of the events are sometimes hazy yet other parts of it are etched in my memory crystal clear. The little details are what sticks in my mind, what I wore, my winter coat the first snow that fell, the crowds on the streets the conversations on the train the first chocolate bar the Austrian lady gave me after we were across the border etc.

(this is the first picture of me after our escape)

To leave our home with everything we owned with just the clothes on your back and a suitcase of photographs. The click of the front door closing when we knew it was for the last time we would hear and see this door close. I still remember exactly what that front door looked like when I looked back. We left our home and were about to leave our country and our future was totally unknown. I did know that we may have to sleep outside and that my warm and comfortable bed and apartment was no more. I remember putting on as much clothes as I could like my mother instructed me. I did have a journal but that was lost a long time ago.

Mother did bring memories she knew that is all that was valuable to us that we survived and she had her treasured photographs. Everything else could be replaced if we had our freedom and health the material stuff did not matter. This was an early lesson I learned from my sweet mama, how I miss her.... she has been gone for over ten years now but I still think about her often. She was a good lady with a good heart and most of all a survivor, she always was resourceful and took care of me no matter what.

(this is the picture we took when my father got home)

When I was growing up we did not have Kodak Brownies and all the photographs we have were done by professional photographers, my mother always made sure to have pictures taken. So many people of that era have almost no memories because of the difficulty and expense to take photographs. Unlike todays world where we have the total opposite too many pictures with the invention of digital cameras there is the opposite problem. Mother really treasured these photographs and I too love them.

My parents seldom talked about their hardships that they endured during their life in Hungary and Romania before the war and after the war during the Communist regimes. My father was a war prisoner in Siberia so far up North that they would see the Northern Lights. The thought of how much my father must have suffered through this for 4 years I can't even imagine.

But the family knew exactly what he was going through that is if he survived the trip, because my grandfather was at the same prison 30 years before. He was captured during World War I and spent 7 years in Siberia! The irony is unbelieveable my grandfather was captured during world war 1 and taken to Siberia to the very same camp that his son ended up 30 years later during World War II.

Of course we did not know this at the time we only knew that he disappeared and what had happened to him was a mystery. Weather he survived the tifus or any of the other horrors we did not know. Every once in a while we would get a message here and there from returning prisoners that they saw him alive. But the years just rolled on and all my mother could do is hope and tell me wonderful stories and show me pictures of my father she always told me that someday he would come home and bring me a beautiful doll with real hair.

Then finally one day he was spotted walking home from the train station, that is how they returned. It was summer I remember every detail. The prisoners would come home and they arrived on the train and were told to go home. My father came home and indeed he gave me the most beautiful doll with real hair. I did not know that mother bought that doll years before with the hopes and prayers of the return of her husband.

I remember in school for many years after the war my whole class would celebrate whenever a students father would return home from Siberia. Coming home from the war some 7 or 8 years in prisons and the horror stories were many... the tears flow just sitting her writing about it.

Here is a page from my journal I made a few years back a picture of my grandfather and my father and the "Gulag" room from the Terror House Museum in Budapest. The floor is a map of Siberia and the tv monitors along the wall played news footage of the prisoners. This was the first time I had seen anything like this. My knees buckled and the tears flowed.

This is a map of the north pole region and I circled the town where the prison was located. When I visited the Terror House Museum I finally got to put pictures to the stories and really realized the reality of it all. I will write about this again it really helps me to share some of my memories..... thanks for looking.

A previous post about the Hungarian Revolution
The Terror House Museum in Budapest

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Book Review: The Attack

I just finished reading "The Attack" by Yasmina Khadra and it deals with the suicide bombings that is so unbelievable to understand at least from my perspective. I found it extremely interesting, the whole subject boggles my mind.

I listened to it from an Audible download, I just love listening to books on "tape" while knitting. Sometimes it is just too difficult for me to read especially in the evenings. Yes "old" age limits my eyesight, getting older is definately not for "wussies" but I digress that is a subject for another blog entry.

I really liked this book, the subject is not pleasant but it gave me some insight to this whole subject a little glimmer of understanding. How could this be? How in the world would anybody think that this is the only way to express their desparation, anger and hurt by hurting others? I just don't get it.

This is what The New Yorker wrote about the book.

Dr. Amin Jaafari, an Israeli Arab, seems fully assimilated into Tel Aviv society, with a loving wife, a successful career as a surgeon, and numerous Jewish friends. But after a restaurant bombing kills nineteen people, and it becomes apparent that his wife was the bomber, he plunges into the world of Islamic extremism, trying to understand how he missed signs of her intentions. Khadra (the nom de plume of Mohammed Moulessehoul) vividly captures Jaafari's anguish and his anger at the fanatics who recruited his wife. The Israelis don't escape lightly, either, as their army marches over law-abiding Arab citizens in an attempt to stamp out the militants. Khadra's writing has a tendency toward cliché, but the book's dark vision of the conflict is powerful.

An interesting article:The Psychology Behind Suicide Bombings
The Advice Goddess mentions this very subject: Lack Of Civilization And Its Discontent

Monday, November 27, 2006

I love getting packages....

This is one of the greatest parts about the internet. Shopping!

Then like magic the mail man brings you a surprise!

I ordered more "options" needles from So far I love these needles! Remembering that you are as good as your tools, my knitting needles are very important to the pleasure of knitting.

They are as nice as the German Addi Turbo needles but much more flexible. I love the sharp tips the "join" is smooth. I knit very tight and some circular needles I really have problems with because where the join is the loops get stuck and there is nothing worse than fighting with my needles as I'm knitting.

Of course the tool has to match the project but so far these needles seem to fit all the projects I've knit with them. I've read many really good reviews so I decided to try it out. I first ordered the Options Knitting Needle Set

  • Knit Picks knitting needles possess high quality elements at very affordable prices:
• Designed by knitters for knitters
• Rigorously tested by professional knitters
• Sharp, gradually tapered point
• Nickel-Plated hollow brass needle
  • Circular knitting needles have flexible cords with no kinks or memory.
  • Options Knitting Needles Set
    This set is a great start for any knitter, beginner or veteran. We have assembled knitting needles in the most common sizes and cable lengths and packaged them into our handy carrying case. You can add to this collection any time with our tips and cables for knitting needles available individually.

    Set Includes
    US Sizes: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,10.5 and 11
    2 each of 24" and 32" lengths
    1 Knitting Needle Case with 6 Knitting Needle Pockets, 8 End Caps and 2 Cable Keys

The needles are great the cords are indeed very flexible but the case is cheap and not very functional. It kind of looks like a cheap day planner notebook. I'm storing them in a neat plastic box I'm not sure if I would take them with me traveling but maybe.

So to wrap it all up the Knit Picks Options is my favorite, I almost feel like getting rid of all my collection of circular needles. Not to worry I said almost, I guess I'll keep them a bit longer.

Knitter's Review wrote the following about the Options Needle set....

The Notion of Options
The Options needle set is based on a pretty intelligent observation: Most knitters tend to use a few needle sizes more often than others. Typical interchangeable needle sets ship with a single pair of each size, so once you've embedded them in one project, your set is immediately less useful.

So Knit Picks has broken the set apart into, as the name suggests, options. And you can buy them separately based on your own needs. If you knit exclusively with size 5 and 6 needles, you can get 20 pairs of 5 and 6 needles and as many cords, of as many lengths, as you want.

If you still want the full set, they've created a special package with nine of the most common needle sizes and two 24" and 32" cables (with eight end caps and two cable keys) in a datebook-style six-ring binder and are offering it at $59.99, a 19% discount over what you'd pay for each element separately.

Links: Knit Picks

Denise Needles
Knitter's Review

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I got a mention on a blog

Amy Alkon of the "Ask The Advice Goddess," is an award-winning, syndicated advice columnist in over 100 newspapers across the U.S. and Canada.

Need some advice ask Amy!

She turns out to be a neighbor living here in Venice not too far from me. I met Amy on the airplane we were sitting next to each other, packed in like sardines in coach. My goal for my next trip I will be taking is to upgrade to business class.

Flying coach these days is sometimes very challenging. I don't know if I'm getting bigger or if the airplane seats are getting smaller. Probably both are true.


Check out Amy's blog:

Friday, November 24, 2006

Oh Please!

I am so sorry for everything mean I said about you! Please do not cook and eat me! I didn't mean it! I have really been a Bitch.

You are the queen and you really rule and you are the best mommy a dog could have! I am so lucky to live with you! Thank you so much for those left overs, it was delicious!

I really do love you!

Fee Fee

The turkey fry....

Thank goodness there is enough left overs for a few days! I've had it with the chopping and dicing and the washing of the dishes etc. it seemed like it was never ending.... the stuffing... the potato salad..... the vegetables..... the sweet potato.... oh yes we had the works.

We did our annual turkey fry and it was delicious! Ever since I discovered that frying a turkey saves me from having to get up at the crack of dawn to put the turkey in the oven I have assigned my husband for this very manly dangerous task! And oh my he really does a good job, he has special "equipment" and tools he made and "wires" the turkey just so.... yes special tools are needed for this assignment.

We fry the turkeys for 5 to 7 minutes per pound depending...... and the outside skin of the bird gets so nice and crispy and the inside meat is left juicy. We only do it once or twice a year so I figure the fry factor is not that bad for our health.

I usually rub the turkey with spices the night before sort of marinate it then heat up the oil and in she goes. We do this outside in the back yard because it can be a big mess and also dangerous, I've heard of people burning their houses down doing this..

... of course the dogs get locked up just in case we are tempted to drop one of them in the pot.... just kidding! I don't think we would like fried "doggies" although the pot is big enough.....

One turkey done and one more turkey to go:

Ommm Yumm.....

This year I volunteered and we shared some of the good food with our local Police, packed it all up and took it to the Pacific Division Police Department and fed the officers on duty. They work so hard and we so appreciate it.

Our Police Chief Captain Bill Williams with one of the volunteers Chris.

It was quite a feast and we all had a great time and we will be back next year with all the goodies again.

A couple of people asked me my recipe for my stuffing and I realized that I cook exactly how I knit --- freeform cooking --- very similar to --- FreeForm Knitting ---- I take a look at the written recipe and then I close the book and put in what I remember or what I have so each time it is different. This is just my style and so it goes.... Sometimes it works out really well and sometimes it does not.... most of the time it works for me.
  • L.A.P.D. Pacific Area
    12312 Culver Blvd.

    Located in the northwest section of the Pacific Area is Venice Beach, a major Southern California tourist attraction. Weekend crowds often number in the tens of thousands. The Los Angeles International Airport is also located in Pacific Area and is one of the busiest airports in the world. Surrounding the airport are many large hotels and businesses. Pacific Area is home to businesses ranging from small family run retail stores to large manufacturing plants.
L.A.P.D. online
Frying turkeys:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Stepping over the "Owl" Line....

When I first looked over to this table at the swap meet I had to kind of focus my eyes , what are those things on this table? Then I realized that they were owls. 600 owls! Every size and color!

Somebody crossed over the line! As I am calling it from now on the "Owl Line". When I questioned the two young men who were selling these owls and wanted to take a picture they were embarrassed to be in the picture. "Not me, Not mine" Where did you get all these owls? I asked.

An old man was collecting owls for 20 years and his wife threatened to leave him unless he got rid of "some" of his owls. Does that mean that he has more than 600 owls yes the house was full of owls! He had thousands of them. So he parted with 600 of them and that is how they ended up at the swap meet. Here is the visual.....

So I walked on with fear of feeding some of my collections, for fear of crossing over the "owl line"..... But this colorful parrot pin I could not resist it will look wonderful on one of my knitted shawls...... When you see tables and tables full of pins and buttons and yarn and needles and other various items I collected you will know that I have crossed over the owl line.

Oh but Bakelite bracelets..... they are so fun to wear.....

Monday, November 13, 2006

From the Bitch and the Boy

The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of some day taking over the house and rule! Yes I will be in charge one day, somebody has to be the two humans I live with are totally crazy and actually I think of them as my tormentors. I try every day little by little for the final take over, I do make progress sometimes. One day I WILL RULE!

I train them every day and some of the techniques I use is waking them up at 3 am to go outside. I start with a quiet growl and then I work my way up to a loud as I can bark/scream! That always gets them, they think I have to go tinkle or some other activities they hate if I do it inside.

I have in the past made them take me out in the middle of the night and stepped outside and decided to come right back in, no tinkle no nothing. It's too cold at night and it's very dark don't tell anybody but I get scared. (Oh I can't believe I shared that!) They are so sleepy they can't see what's happenig.

Then I just throw up or tinkle inside, where it's nice and warm and hopefully in a spot that is very hard to find. She is the one that always has to clean it up..... as you see I have ways to get back at her....

Now I must go I have to think about other ways to plot my take over. They will never catch on, I will wait though because this weekend I get fried turkey! My favorite. They always make too much so I get lots and lots of turkey.

From the Bitch aka. The Queen Ruler!
From the boy:

I don't know what my sister is up to but I know it's something mean. I hope she does not upset Mommy too much. Mommy loves me so much and she is so nice to me. I think there is something delicious cooking in the kitchen Mommy came home with a lot of packages from the market and it's starting to smell really good.

I think it's some kind of holiday coming up Mommy washed the fancy dishes! I hope they make a fried turkey like last year.

The boy.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Payback's a Bitch

From the Bitch and the Boy about food....

You know I think SHE is pissed at me, I accidentally bit her last night I must say it was kind of cool how she jumped and how I scared the hell out of her but she got pissed. SHE knows that I don't go to bed until SHE goes to bed. Not like my stupid brother who goes to bed as soon as the sun goes down and will sleep long after sunrise! What is that all about but I digress....

So I'm waiting and waiting for her to go to bed so I could get some sleep, but NO she is staying up watching some stupid movie and knitting so boring. So I decided to go to the bedroom and wait for her by the door, I purposely laid right across the threshold so I would be sure to know when she comes to bed so I could finally go to bed. What do you think happened? SHE comes barging in the bedroom without turning the light on and steps right on my right little paw. So I BIT her! So there I said it.

I was kind of sorry after I did it from the way she way yelling it must have hurt her huge toe! Thank goodness I have a large mouth and some good teeth to protect myself. But now I think she is pissed off about the toe incident last night I heard her telling Papa that her toe hurt because I bit her. It was an accident darling! An Accident! And besides what about my poor little paw? I think I'm going to limp a little bit just to show her how much SHE hurt me!

So I'm asking for my breakfast this morning and she is hesitating telling me that it's too early to eat yet. Oh yes I woke her up early this morning I think it was around 4:30 am (hee, hee) just as a payback for hurting my little paw. But I was persistent and would not let her knit or enjoy her coffee or anything at all I WANT MY BREAKFAST! And I want it NOW! Finally she got our breakfast ready.

What ? I think she gave him more that she gave me! Life is so unfair.

The Bitch with a hurting paw!


Oh my I had such a good sleep last night, went to bed early and missed all the hoopla and slept in this morning! What a great life I have! When I got up breakfast was all ready for me and it was delicious! I love ground beef freshly made. Mommy must love me very much because she did give me just a little bit more than the Bitch got. I love my Mommy.

The content Boy

Friday, November 10, 2006

Cooking in Paris

When I was visiting my friend Jo Ann Morning in Paris we would take her two French Poodles for a walk before dinner. As we walked in this lovely quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of Paris, Clamart just a short subway ride from the heart of Paris.

Besides the wonderful smell of home cooked "French" food I would hear this "shishing" noise. Wondering what that was I asked Jo Ann and she explained that it was the sound of pressure cookers steaming. French women hate microwave ovens so they use pressure cookers, they have busy lives and don't have time to cook.

I have a busy life and I don't have time to cook and I don't love my microwave and rarely use it. A pressure cooker....Hm...

Then we would get home and they would whip up a delicious dinner in 15 or 20 minutes! Pressure Cooker! Wow! So as soon as I got home I marched off to my local Bed Bath and Beyond and bought one.

Years ago I had a pressure cooker and I did not have good memories of it. I was always afraid that it would blow up from all that pressure. But now with the newer models it seems perfectly safe.

One of the reasons I did not like using the pressure cooker as I remember is because you could not open it whenever you wanted and the time it took for it to cool down to open seemed time consuming. Maybe I did not read the directions well enough I'm not sure if this was explained in the directions or not.

As I was watching Jo Ann and her husband cooking they would just run cold water over the lid and the pressure released and they could take a peak at how the food was doing. As easy as that, I just wonder how I did not even know about this or nobody ever told me or why I never knew this phenomena. But now that I know this and armed with my new pressure cooker it is one of the best tools I have in my kitchen "arsenal".

This is the brand I got:

The one I got had two pots one 10qt and a 4qt with one pressure lid and one glass lid. I paid around 69 dollars (I thought a good deal) I find this combination very handy when I want to make more than one dish. I have loved everything I've made and including vegetables. The key to vegetables is not to cook too long. I actually just bring it up to the first "shish" and turn it off pour cold water on the lid and open it.

With meat I usually check every 5 minutes, opening the lid and stirring or turning if it's a roast and judging how long more to cook. A roast cooks up in about 15 minutes and 2 more minutes after I add the vegetables, It has been sort of trial and error. Most of the recipes I found were not exact either, it depends what cut of meat etc.

Here are some pictures from Paris.......

I had such a good time posting pictures from Paris I will post again, I had a great trip and have lots of great pictures I want to share.

Jo Ann is an artist living in Paris, take a look at her art.
Jo Ann Morning

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Congratulations Arnold

Arnold and his Hummer

Congratulations Arnold!

Monday, November 06, 2006

I jinxed it!

Record Temperatures! Hot and Sunny!

The weather forecast for today in Los Angeles, California,
November 6, 2006.

I guess I'm going to have to hold off on the wool socks, wool sweaters, wool anything! I am not surprised however this always happens to me. As soon as I make the big "Switch" the weather miraculously turns hot no matter which month I pick October, November, December. Luckily I was smart this year I kept a few "summer" items just in case.

So we get Hot and sunny, actually it is nice... the weather is one thing I can not complain about here in Southern California that is why I live here. There are many places in the world I like but then the bottom line is always the weather. Especially here at the beach.

The forecast for Venice Beach

I guess this is as good as it gets as far as desirable temperatures for me anyway.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hung up on Hangers...

You know the great wardrobe "Switch" from one season to the other. It is more difficult here in Southern California because technically speaking we do not really have "cold" weather. Well the truth is that my blood is "thinner" (that's probably an old wife's tale) I'm not used to cold weather any more so I need winter clothes for those chilly days. So each year I go through the obligatory "Switch".

It takes me all season to fine tune my outfits for the season and the next thing I know I need different clothes the weather has changed. You would think that I would be used to this by now but somehow I'm not. Actually I should say I just don't like to do this so I put it off.

Finally it's November and we have had cooler days and I am traveling to a cooler climate so I made the "switch". It was very cold on the East Coast but when I got home, it's hot again. Hot and we have what we call the "Santa Ana Winds".

Thank goodness I went shopping in North Carolina! They had all their summer things on sale....not just on sale but they were literally giving the stuff away. Notice the $.00 on the register slip......... I kid you not they were giving clothes away ..... just glad to get rid of it.... I loved them and next summer I'm set ......

I bought so much stuff that I had to buy an extra big suitcase to come home with. When my husband picked me up at the airport he could not believe the size of my luggage. Quite frankly I could not believe it either.

So my girlfriend calls me to tell me about her new "hangers" she got on the Home Shopping Network. How great they were and how they were worth the $100 dollars she spent getting them. $100 Dollars on Hangers? Are you out of your mind? I would never spend that kind of money on hangers! But she loves them.

She tells me that they are special, she has replaced all her hangers with these very special "Huggable Hangers" ..... oh my ... I ask did you buy those in the middle of the night when you saw the infomercial? Yes...

You can even hang wet tee Shirts on them she tells me, but I never hang wet tee shirts on a hanger I say .... well they are just very special.

You know I've been so tempted a couple of times to get out of bed and order something that looks so marvelous when they describe it on television especially in the middle of the night. I wake up can't go back to sleep and I turn on the television and there they are hawking something that sounds so great that I feel like I need that. Then they tell me that I must order right now ..... 3 easy payments etc....

My dear husband ordered some vitamins once and they did not tell him that this automatically signed him up for "refills" and we kept getting vitamins and I had a heck of a time getting them to stop. Many phone calls, and letters and finally I had to call the credit card company to get us released from this auto purchase....Since then we learned not to order anything from the television especially in the middle of the night.

With so many new clothes I needed more hangers and the hangers I opted to use: Black Friction® Hangers and I got them at Ross and I did spend about 30 bucks for the new hangers and I too feel like they are very "special" I'm glad I didn't see the infomercial in the middle of the night, I too may be out $100 bucks.

Thank goodness Joan Crawford is not around because they are WIRE hangers!

I like them with the foam covering things do not slide off and now I'm ready for the new season. Wool sweaters, shawls, hats and not to forget wool socks!

Huggable Hangers on Home Shopping Network

Friday, November 03, 2006

GPS the greatest invention since sliced bread!

I had a rental car with a GPS system in it WOW!
I will never travel without one. I'm usually pretty good navigating my way around but who needs a map when you can just type in your address and a lovely voice will tell you exactly where to go. Where have I been all this time ? My car at home does not have one and at home I really do not need it but when traveling it is the Greatest!

It even had an entry of "return the car to the car rental place". It really made a major difference I felt very secure in not getting lost and always finding my way back home. I may even have to get one just to have. I heard they even have some that have attitudes, I think I'd like that one.